Brazilian Highlands

Brazilian Highlands

The Brazilian Highlands (or "Planalto Brasileiro") are an extensive geographical region, covering most of the eastern, southern and central portions of Brazil, in all approximately half of the country's land area, or some 4,000,000 km² (1,544,000 sq mi). In addition, the vast majority of Brazil's population (186,112,794 "2004 est.") lives in the highlands or on the narrow coastal region immediately adjacent to it.

Ancient basaltic lava flows gave birth to much of the region. However, the time of dramatic geophysical activity is long past, as there is now no seismic or volcanic activity. Erosion has also played a large part in shaping the Highlands, forming extensive sedimentary deposits and wearing down the mountains.

The Brazilian Highlands are notable for the great diversity to be found there: within it there are several different biomes, vastly different climatic conditions, many types of soil, and thousands of animal and plant species.

Due to its extension and diversity of characteristics, the Brazilian Highlands are subdivided in three parts: the Atlantic plateaus, the north-east coast which occupies the south, with several mountain ranges; the Central plateaus that occupy the Center-West region and are formed by sedimentary plateaus and ancient crystalline plateaus; and the Southern plateaus that predominate in the Southeastern and South regions, formed by sedimentary lands covered partially by basaltic lava spills that have formed the fertile ground of that people call "purple land".

Major divisions

Due to its size, the Brazilian Highlands are usually divided into three main areas:
*Atlantic Plateau, extending all along the eastern coast of Brazil. It was once almost completely covered by the Atlantic Rainforest, one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world, of which only 7.3% remains.
*Southern Plateau, advancing inland in the southern and southern-central portions of the country. Large portions of this region were also covered by the Atlantic Rainforest, while araucaria highland forest and cerrado grasslands took up much of the rest.
*Central Plateau, occupying the central portions of Brazil. Approximately 85% was once covered by cerrado vegetation, of which only a small portion remains intact..

In addition to the plateau regions, several adjoining or enclosed mountain ranges are considered to be part of the Brazilian Highlands. Some of the most important are (from north to south):
*Serra da Borborema
*Chapada Diamantina
*Serra do Espinhaço
*Serra do Caparaó
*Serra da Mantiqueira
*Serra do Mar
*Serra Geral
*Map of the Brazilian HighlandsThe highest point of the Brazilian Highlands is the Pico da Bandeira in the Serra do Caparaó, which stands at 2,891 meters (9,485 ft).

Most people in the Brazil live either in the highlands of Brazil or in narrow valleys.


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